Power BI now generally available, many new features and capabilities of Power
BI Desktop (known as Power BI Designer in the Preview) are ready to experience.
These include major updates to open source visuals, the Power BI Android app,
and authoring enhancements.
PowerBI Desktop is
a powerful new visual data exploration and interactive reporting tool available
at PowerBI.com. It provides a free-form canvas for drag-and-drop
exploration of your data and an extensive library of interactive
visualizations, while streamlining report creation and publishing to the Power
BI service. The Power BI Desktop has been enhanced to include:
- New visualizations including matrix, area, waterfall, and donut
- New visualization formatting such as color setting, titles, labels,
- New data source support has also been extended to include Zendesk,
Intuit Quickbooks Online, AppFigures, GitHub, Twilio, and SweetIQ.
- Direct connection to SQL Server Analysis Services tabular models
for data exploration.
The full list of
updates Microsoft has rolled out since preview includes:
- Globally available and localized to 44 languages
- New visuals – Tree Map, Combo Chart, Funnel, Gauges,
Area Map, Waterfall, Donut, Area Chart, Matrix and others.
- Significantly enhanced Power BI Desktop (renamed
- Native touch optimized mobile apps for iOS, Android
- Rich control over visual coloring, including
conditional formatting in Reports
- Visual formatting and customization in Reports
(Title, Background Color, Legend, Data Labels, and X/Y axis for Cartesian
- Support for Hyperlinks in Reports and report tables
- Report publishing directly from Power BI Desktop to
the PowerBI.com service
- New styling, look and feel
- Simple and categorized Get Data Experience
- A dozen ISVs delivered content packs for Power BI,
providing rich, out-of-the-box reports and dashboards for a variety of
popular business services (Acumatica, appFigures, Google Analytics,
MailChimp, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, QuickBooks Online, SQL Server
Database Auditing, SweetIQ, Twilio, UserVoice, Visual Studio Online)
- Four direct query sources enabling users to build
Power BI reports and dashboards without the need to move data (Azure SQL
Database, Azure SQL Data Warehouse, SQL Server Analysis Services, Spark on
- Easy import of CSV files
- Support for connecting and refreshing from
on-Premises data sources
- Enhanced data modeling in Power BI Desktop (Calculated
Columns, Data Categorization, Smart DAX Formula Editor, 12 new DAX
- Enhanced data transformation and mashup capabilities
in Power BI Desktop with ten new transformation functions
- Direct report exploration over Analysis Services
tabular model from Power BI Desktop
- Building and publishing Organizational content packs
- Power BI Groups to enable collaboration on a jointly
owned set of datasets, reports and dashboards
- Browser rendered Excel reports in Power BI
- Power BI REST API
- Support for real time dashboards over massive data
streams through Azure Stream Analytics
- Open source Power BI visualization stack to enable
Developers to starting building custom visuals
- Developer samples and test bed for getting started
quickly using the REST API
- New community forum site at community.powerbi.com
Microsoft has added an awesome new feature in
O365 Exchange Online that helps filter your low-priority email—saving time for
your most important messages. Microsoft calls it Clutter.
Clutter looks at what you've done in the past to
determine the messages you're most likely to ignore. It then moves those
messages to a folder called Clutter. Just keep using email as usual and Clutter
will learn which messages aren't important to you.
From time to time, Clutter might get it wrong.
You can move the messages we've incorrectly identified as clutter to your
inbox, and Clutter will take notice.
Your privacy is extremely important to Microsoft.
So, they remove any personally identifiable information from the data it uses
to make the feature better.
And if you find Clutter isn't for you, you can
turn it off any time.
Microsoft has a lofty vision for Windows 10 - one
operating system core for all devices called OneCore. One of the keys to making
that vision a reality for smartphones is a software feature called Continuum. With
Continuum for phones, Microsoft believes any phone can be your PC. Microsoft
aims to turn Windows 10 phones into full-blown PCs when they’re connected to
PCs. Also, with Windows 10 phones, the devices will perform similarly to a
traditional PC when they’re connected to an external monitor, along with a
Bluetooth mouse and keyboard.
Continuum is a software tool that will aid Windows
10 in detecting what type of device a user is on and help the operating system
configure itself accordingly. It is integral for Surface and other convertible tablets
that double as laptops. For instance, Continuum will be able to know when
you're using Windows 10 with a mouse and keyboard attachment and when you've
switched to a touch interface with finger- and pen-based inputs.
Microsoft’s universal apps use the same basic code
base across devices and scale to fit the screen they’re being used on.
Continuum is Microsoft's solution for shifting among various form factors.
When a Windows Phone is plugged into a PC monitor, a
PowerPoint app is treated like a PC app because it is in fact the same code
that one would see for PowerPoint on a PC. When numerous tablet apps are opened,
Continuum would switch them to PC-style apps when the device is docked. Even
desktop-centric stuff will work just fine. Seamless copying and pasting between
mobile-centric apps, and yes, even the legendary ALT-TAB are available now. Continuum for
Phones changes the interface on the screen it's connected to and gives you extra
tools on the handset as well. Microsoft calls it a "PC-like
Windows 10's Mail app running on a Windows Phone connected to an
external monitor, using Continuum.
When you first connect your phone to a keyboard and
screen using the new Connect button in the Action Center (which Microsoft also
refers to as 'docking'), a notification at the top of your phone screen asks if
you want to use the phone as a trackpad to control the cursor on the other
screen - that's an app that gives you an experience very like controlling an
Xbox with the SmartGlass app on your phone. (It helps to turn the phone
sideways, so it looks like a trackpad, and to put it down in front of the
keyboard). Or you can keep using the handset with the usual phone interface. Apps you
launch by touching the phone screen stay on the phone screen - so you could
project PowerPoint for a presentation but keep your email and personal text
messages off the big screen. There will be a gesture to move an app from the phone
screen to the big screen and back.
If what you're running is a web application from
the Windows Store, it will give you a different interface if it uses responsive
design. But if it's an Android app packaged for Windows 10 for Phones (or an
iOS app that the developer hasn't added extra features to), you'll just get the
standard phone app interface, only bigger.
Soon, one can rely solely on a smartphone for their
says that Windows 10 would launch late July in 190 countries and 111 languages.
Windows 10 is showcased as a simpler, more modern OS that seamlessly ties together
desktops, laptops and smartphones. Microsoft calls it not just another release
of Windows "but a new generation of Windows built for an era for more
personal computing, from Raspberry Pi to the holographic computer, where the
mobility of the experience is what matters, not the mobility of the
One of our customers was struggling to cut down costs on communication which at one point shot up to unmanageable levels. While they were already subscribers to O365 plans that included Skype for Business, their users were ignorant of the capabilities of Skype for Business and so they kept using the traditional applications that came to them at an added cost. I showcased the features of Skype for business that contained more than what their traditional and costly applications offered. Now they are looking forward to a lot of savings as Skype for Business is their current app of choice for communication.
Here are some of the various
productivity features that might make Skype for Business the first choice for
internal as well as external communication:
Presence and app integration
Show your presence and availability to others in
the team, your department and the whole enterprise from any device from
anywhere – just sign into Skype for Business in your Laptop or Desktop or Lync
2013 app in your mobile devices (iPad, Android tabs, Windows phone/ iPhone /
You can move your status to “Do not disturb” so
that others may know you are busy – they can’t even ping you in Skype for
Business when you are in Do not disturb status.
When you start a mail or reply to a mail, stop and
think twice – you can connect with the respective persons through Skype for
business if they are online and are available. Click on the person’s name from
the To box and start a conversation. The Subject line of the mail (if any) will
automatically become the title of the conversation window.
You can do a lot in the Chat window to minimize the
number of mails exchanged – all the texts exchanged are saved in the
Conversation history folder of your mailbox in Outlook.
Ad hoc Meetings
You can add people with just a Skype id to your
contacts list. They don’t have to subscribers to Office 365 services.
You can create a federation with other client /
customer Business enterprises (that have Office 365 subscription) at the admin
level if you frequently communicate with them. (Kindly contact IT dept. for
this). This will enable seamless communication between you and them.
Start a chat with anybody in your Skype for
Business contact list by just double clicking on the id and clicking on the
If you want to include one or more persons into an
already open conversation window, click the Plus icon on the top right corner
of the window and search for the respective person from the contact list.
You can also drag that person’s id from the Skype for Business window to the
conversation window. Make sure he is available and inform him first before
bringing him in.
Click on the Phone receiver icon to connect with
the participants through audio conferencing. Make sure you have a good
headphones and a mic to have a real good audio conferencing experience. Your
smart phone’s hands-free will suffice.
Click on the Video Camera icon to connect with the
participants through HD video conferencing.
You can share your screen (desktop, one or more
open windows/programs, White Board) or run a PowerPoint presentation by
clicking the More option from the Monitor icon.
Requesting for control, giving control and taking
back control of the desktops and screens is possible during such meetings.
Except for the text exchanges, nothing else of this
ad hoc meeting is recorded.
Scheduled Meetings / Webinars
schedule an online meeting by
on the New Items option of the Outlook window and choosing the Skype Meeting
a new appointment window from outlook calendar and clicking on the Skype
Skype meeting” link is generated on the notes area which will be required by
the meeting attendees to join the online meeting
meeting request can be sent to the invitees irrespective of whether they have
an O365 subscription / Skype id or not
with a Skype for Business subscription will have a Skype window open during the
meeting. Others who join from the meeting link will have a browser opened to
attend the meeting. (Think of Remote interviews and On boarding of new
can join the meeting from wherever they are using any device that is
audio and video enabled and has a connection to the internet.
250 attendees can be accommodated in scheduled meeting
meeting can be recorded in its entirety – chat, audio, video and screen shares
- and shared with the participants and those who missed it later on by posting
it in SharePoint. External attendees cannot record the meeting,
request/give/take control of the shared desktop.
can be floated during the meeting to gauge the interest of the attendees and to
gather their opinion